How to buy a webcam
Level of difficulty:
Buying a webcam, one might think, should be sufficiently easy. That is, until one comes across an absolutely mind-boggling range of webcams on display at a computer retail store, or an online store. With webcams in every shape, colors and sizes, suiting every budget and multitasking with astounding efficiency, buying the right webcam suddenly gets tougher. Much like desktop computers or laptops, webcams have their own functional merits, glamour quotient, and high-spec facilities and features. Hence, private users who just need a good webcam that can shoot the basic image with good visual fidelity might get confused about which webcams to choose. The golden rule while buying webcams is to be absolutely confident about its intended usage. Allow me to explain how.
Users often end up paying astronomical amounts for their webcams that, sure enough, comes packed with loads of high-tech features. But the question is, are all these features relevant to everyday use? And this is where having prior knowledge and guidance about webcam buying come in. generally, the basic tenet that every good webcam should have is high resolutions, with higher resolutions being the better. This increases clarity of the image and increases color depth. Images with lower resolutions, especially when viewed in LCD or large-display monitors, tends to become grainy and often color-burnt. A decent webcam should have a minimum resolution of 640 X 480, although truly good webcams come at upwards of 800 X 600 sizes.
For webcams, a high frame rate (FPS) is also extremely important is one needs to use its video capturing capabilities. Compromise on the frame rate would make any video captured in the webcam become lagged, choppy and discontinuous. Video stuttering and freezing is also extremely common with webcams with inferior frame rates. Normally, webcams with at least 15FPS is considered decent and usable. However, if one really needs good video capturing, any webcam that gives something in the neighborhood of 30FPS is considered good enough. Also, one must make sure to buy webcams with a glass lens, instead of minutely cheaper plastic or fiber lenses. Glass lenses are wonderfully adept at preserving color and sharpness of image.
Other important features that are becoming common in webcams include Auto-focusing, good zooming-in capabilities, automatic light-adjustment capabilities and so on. Good webcams today can also take decent quality still images. For this, one needs to procure a webcam of at least 2.0 mega pixels (3.2 Mp is better, usually). These are the basic features that must be considered before buying webcams.